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Hungary pledges support for Macedonia’s EU entry May 14, 2011

Posted by Yilan in EU, Hungary, Macedonia.
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Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban on Thursday pledged his support for the early opening of European Union accession talks with Macedonia, blocked for six years over a name dispute with Greece.

“Hungary as a (rotating) chairman of the EU presidency will continue to have the start of talks with Macedonia at the top of the agenda,” Orban said after a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski.

Macedonia has the status of member candidate since January 2005, but because of Greek objections over its name the country’s entry into the EU and NATO is blocked.

Orban stressed that “this unnatural state should be resolved and Macedonia which has six years of candidate status should become a member as soon as possible”.

“There is no reason for someone to stop a country from becoming a part of Europe. Nothing will be damaged if the accession talks start,” he added. Orban insisted he was not taking sides in the long-running name row.

“It is my job to promote the interest of Europe, and the interest of the European Union is that Macedonia becomes a member as soon as possible,” he said.

Gruevski said Orban’s visit to Skopje was “a strong political signal that the Hungarian presidency is effectively devoted to continuing the process of European enlargement.”

Macedonia has been at loggerheads with Greece since it proclaimed independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Greece, which has a northern province called Macedonia, says that the use of the same name by its neighbour implies a claim on Greek territory.

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